It all started with a restlessness, with the feeling that I was supposed to be somewhere else, doing something more. I’d been challenged to spend time in another context, somewhere beyond my small corner of the world. It was ruminating within me. I couldn’t let it go.
So I started looking into short term missions trips. I was on Google in my room, searching for my trip, not knowing where I’d be going or when or what sort of trip it would be. I just knew there was something to find.
My searches weren’t going anywhere substantial. There were so many options, so many places I could serve, so many people needing the hope of Jesus. And yet none of them really grabbed ahold of my heart.
One day I was listening to Air1 and they were giving away an all expense paid missions trip to South Africa. I thought it wouldn’t hurt to sign up- if I was supposed to be there, I would win it- and didn’t think about it again.
Until I got a phone call while at work one day from the organization sending people on that giveaway trip.
I spoke to a girl around my age who told me I hadn’t won the trip to South Africa, but that there were other options if I were interested. I explained where I was in terms of my search for a trip to go on. I told her I wanted to serve somewhere, wasn’t sure where, and would be open to just about any type of trip. I told her that I was coming out of a time where I was running all the time, being busy. I told her I felt like I was supposed to be serving in a greater way. She asked me if I was set on Africa. I told her I was open to anywhere and mentioned past trips- to Brazil on a missions trip and to Ireland to see friends.
She said they take trips to Europe. (I say I’d be interested in going to Europe again.)
She asked how I felt about children. (I tell her that’s more of my style of ministry than using a hammer and nails.)
She asked if I’d ever thought of Romania. (I hadn’t.)
And then she told me about the country. She explains to me that it’s a beautiful country, but very poor. She tells me about the orphans, how the trip is meant to bring them love and to share the Gospel with them. She mentions vacation Bible school and holding children without families. She asked me if I want to sign up, then and there on the phone.
I don’t. I told her I wanted to pray about it, think on it, talk it over with my parents. We pray together and schedule a call back for two weeks’ time.
So at this point, I’m already pondering the timing of this phone call and the way it’s all come about. I wasn’t having any luck searching on my own. I entered that contest on a whim, hadn’t thought much of it, and then suddenly I have someone calling me, telling me about a specific need doing something I’d love to do.
When I got home, I looked up the organization’s website, then started searching for Romania and started to pray about it. I started searching for photos of Romanian gypsies, for information on the country itself. I see the faces of these children. I was looking at them and I told God, out loud in front of my computer screen, “I think, maybe, I’m going to Romania.”
I kept looking into it days apart, looking up the language, photos, blog links from people who had gone on trips to Romania with this group before. The more I look at images of the country, the people, and see the need there… the more I started to feel Romania. It was on my mind steadily, like a heart beat. Romania. Romania. Romania. I wanted to hold the children in the photographs, speak to gypsies, learn their language. I wanted to go, but I didn’t want it to be just me wanting to be there. “Lord, I’m probably going to Romania,” I admitted. My next prayer, though, was for Him to make it clear.
I asked Him to affirm this as the right choice, asked for Him to show me Romania if it was where I was supposed to be. I hadn’t told anyone about the trip. I wanted to see if this was it. So I asked God to show me Romania and moved on with living.
I kept thinking about it. The heartbeat was still there. Romania. Romania. Romania. I still hadn’t told anyone about it. I still hadn’t seen Romania anywhere.
One night at Living Church, I pray with Angie, one of the women in my community group. We pray together for God’s will to lead each heart in the room, for Him to reveal His will to each of us. I pray about Romania without naming it specifically, and keep my heart open to His voice.
I don’t see Romania, but I hold on to Romania. I’m pretty sure that I’m going to step forward and apply when I get the return phone call from the organization.
And then my mind began to wander, and I started to doubt. They had mentioned drama as a part of the outreach on this trip. I just was suddenly so nervous about it. I’m not good with being in front of people like that. I’m not an actress. Maybe I should find another trip. I don’t know, Lord. Maybe this isn’t it. Maybe there’s something else, better suited to what I can do.
Later I’m on Twitter and I see a link to a new blog post from my friend, Carmen. I click the link and the post is all about serving, being called to do things that you don’t feel gifted in. It was about stepping out in faith when you feel unequipped to handle what you’re being called to do. She followed Him, and He enabled her to do it. She stepped out in faith and He proved Himself faithful. I read that post, shook my head at myself for my doubts and said, “Alright, Lord. Message received.”
I go back to my Twitter account and see a tweet a few posts down by an organization I follow. There was a news story about something they were doing. I clicked the link and started reading. It was all about what they were doing in Romania. And at that moment, I remembered my prayer. At that moment, God had my attention. And I knew He was for me and for the trip to Romania. So I made plans to tell my parents and told Him I’d be applying when I got the phone call, all the while thanking Him for the stirrings of the soul and that He is enough.
After I applied to go on the trip, I started seeing Romania more, still without having mentioned the trip to many people other than my family. Friends in groups on Facebook mentioned they were Romanian. Organizations I follow would bring Romania up in e-mails and on twitter. I signed up for a pen pal recently and in her second letter to me she mentioned how her church sponsors a missionary couple in Romania. A blogger I found from friends’ blogs mentioned in a post I stumbled upon that she goes to Romania yearly on missions trips. Now that the word’s out that I’m going, it’s still happening. One of the people helping me with a fundraiser has been to Romania on a missions trip and knows two people who go each year to the same city I’ll be going to.
That is why I’m going to Romania in June. When the calling is made clear, you get up and you go. I feel like nothing has ever been more clearly God-orchestrated to me in my life. It’s been unreal to see Him answer my prayer and to watch all of this come together… to hear and see affirmations that this is where I’m supposed to be going. I’m so excited to see God working already in the preparations for this trip and I can’t wait to see how He works while I’m actually there.
If you’d like to follow along with all of my trip preparations- receive updates on support, fundraising opportunities, and specific things you can be praying about, be sure to leave your e-mail in the comments below. I’ll add you to my newsletter. In the mean time, please be praying for me as I prepare to go to Romania. :]
Also: If you’re interested in donating to help me raise my support for this trip (approx. $4,000), please let me know! You can leave an e-mail address in the comments of this post or message me on Facebook and I’ll get back to you. Or feel free to stop me in person if you’re able to. I’ll also be doing some fundraisers that you can be involved in as well.